Chicagoland native K. Flay goes big by bridging the worlds of rap and rock | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chicagoland native K. Flay goes big by bridging the worlds of rap and rock


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Wilmette native Kristine Flaherty, aka rapper K. Flay, had to leave home to find inspiration in another onetime local: Liz Phair. Last year Flaherty told Billboard that when she discovered Exile in Guyville in the late 2000s, it introduced her to a universe of alternative rock acts fronted by women “who are such bad asses—and not being bad asses for the sake of it, just being themselves and saying something and standing behind something.” The Billboard story skewed toward Flaherty’s interest in rock because the genre is all over her second album, last spring’s Every Where Is Some Where (Interscope/Night Street), but in a year where emerging rappers were celebrated for embracing the genre, K. Flay was largely left out of the conversation. Unfortunately, that’s not new. Even in her days as a road dog on the club circuit, when she frequently played venues that don’t traditionally cater to rappers, I’d mostly see her name printed in think pieces about women in hip-hop, which often flattened her distinctiveness; what she had to say, and how she expressed herself in music, would always feel secondary to her part in a loose cabal of other female musicians who were convened for the purpose of a single story. With Every Where Is Some Where she’s gained more definition in the public eye, and largely through the lens of rock; her stomping, industrial-flecked “Blood in the Cut” earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song along with veterans such as Foo Fighters and Metallica. Whatever genre you want to call Every Where Is Some Where, it’s definitely huge, succinct, and razor-sharp. I like to imagine that decades down the line a young woman from the northern suburbs will discover this album en route to her own bright musical future.   v

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